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THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS - page 59 / 62

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Question:  When you were talking about the meeting of the Secretary-General in Egypt, he addressed, obviously, Iran, and Michèle previously said that he did not have any intention to go to Tehran.  Did he get any invitation by the Iranian officials so far to visit Iran?

Spokesperson:  Not that I know of, but I’m reading you what was reported to me from their meeting today.  So I don’t have anything further on that.

[The Deputy Spokesperson later told the reporter that the Secretary-General had received an invitation to visit Iran but that no decision had been taken on that yet.]

Question:  I wanted to follow up on Benny’s question about the North Korea audit.  I thought the Secretary-General had written to North Korea on 28 February and you all announced it on 6 March that he’d written to North Korea saying please help my auditors.  So if they weren’t even going to apply for a visa, what was the thinking behind that letter?  Can you say why Ban Ki-moon wrote to North Korea and said help me if in fact there was no help needed?

Spokesperson:  You’d have to ask the Board of Auditors.

Question:  He wrote the letter.

Spokesperson:  Ever since he called for or he asked the ACABQ to request the audit, there have been a number of steps.  Actually what it was, it was that DPRK, I believe, is the one who sent him a letter expressing their concerns and he responded back to DPRK about their concerns.  I think that’s the letter you’re referring to.

Question:  Yeah, but he said help us.

Spokesperson:  But again, you’d have to ask the Board of Auditors because they’re the ones who investigated.  We don’t know how much cooperation or non-cooperation they are receiving.

Question:  Just one follow-up on this, just a reminder, the idea when he announced, I distinctly remember the figure of 90 days on this, then 100 and something anniversary day.  Is there any thinking about the slipping of the deadline?

Spokesperson:  I checked back to see, because we had Warren Sachs actually brief you about this process, and we checked back at his transcript.  And what he said was that it would have been a proposed time frame of 90 days so again you’d have to ask the Board of Auditors if they consider this to be a delay.

Question:  But if the proposal deadline is passed and gone, how much would we let it slip?  I mean if it becomes 190 days, is that acceptable?

Spokesperson:  My understanding again is, and it’s only my understanding because we don’t speak for the Board of Auditors, but the ACABQ which I mentioned is the body that requested the audit is starting to meet on 14 May.  So my understanding again is that at this session there will be something presented.

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